US President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un met at Panmunjom border end June. They agreed to resume working-level nuclear talks. Trump had indicated a timeframe of two to three weeks. One of his officials will arrive in South Korea to follow-up the subject. However, Kim feels there is a need to send across an indirect message to the United States. He has already declared a moratorium on testing ICBMs and nuclear weapons in the course of talks on denuclearization.

Therefore, his inspection of a newly built submarine is significant.

The Guardian quotes KCNA reports as saying the submarine could have potentials to launch ballistic missiles. Kim himself paid special attention to it, and it will operate in the waters off the east coast. There is little information on the weapon system installed in the submarine or the time and place of inspection. Kim has said - “The operational capacity of a submarine is an important component in the national defence of our country bounded on its east and west by the sea.”

North Korea’s impressive fleet of submarines

The hermit kingdom’s fleet of submarines is impressive, and only one of them falls in the category of experimental.

It can carry a ballistic missile. In the opinion of knowledgeable persons, the apparent size of the new model shows it could carry missiles. The country has focused its attention on its submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program. That was in 2016. It subsequently test-fired a ballistic missile from a submarine even as it was engaged in its ICBM program.

The Guardian adds that Kim undertook the submarine inspection along with officials who have been involved in important programs related to missile development, and nuclear weapons.

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A monitoring group had revealed last year that North Korea was building another Sinpo-class ballistic missile submarine. The basis of the information was commercial satellite imagery.

The world is curious about Kim’s submarines

According to CNN, North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) released images showing Kim Jong-un inspecting what appeared to be a submarine under construction.

Analysts believe Kim wants a nuclear-armed submarine that will add power to its arsenal. This is because such vessels are difficult to locate and eliminate. Kim’s regime has successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The country has a substantial fleet of subs but most would be old models and might not have capabilities to fire nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. One expert said the images projected by the media would tend to suggest that the sub under construction is larger compared to the one used in 2016.

Another expert commented that based on the images, one could deduce that the submarine is still incomplete.

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